Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 2:: Peace

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Colossians 3:15



Peace, the absence of strife.   We cannot find peace in too many places, in our world, today.  We talk of peace; nations want it, and people want it.  Everyone is looking for something that will give peace.  We have so many things in our day that can cause us stress and worry.  Our health, finances, relationships; they all can steal our peace, even as Christians.  This is true particularly at Christmas.  Just when we should be celebrating The Prince of Peace we find our own peace gone.   We forget that only God can truly give peace.  He does not provide peace for the world, but he can give peace for our soul in the midst of the storms of this life.  As we travel back to that very first Christmas, we see a scene that could very easily steal peace.  Just at a time when they should have been planning the arrival of a baby; Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem. Wow!  That situation would be sure to stress me out.  I’m ready to have a baby, and you want me to make a trip on an animal?  No matter whether it was a donkey, horse or a camel; it would not be a good time.  Oh yes, let’s add to the stress level; since they were not the only ones making the voyage, when they got to Bethlehem the only place for them to stay was a “cave” barn.  That might   send most of us “over the proverbial edge”.   Yet they seemed to take it in stride.  How could they handle it so well?  I believe it was because they trusted God to know what he was doing; even if they didn't understand.  God gave them peace in the midst of the storm.  It was the same peace that allowed the shepherds leave their livelihood and go see a baby in a manger. There is another person in this story whose actions showed that he did not have God’s peace.  Enter Herod!  When the wise men came and ask him about a new “king” born in Israel; we are told “he was troubled”; “he had a meltdown”, Sharon’s translation.  Not only did he have a meltdown but he shared that meltdown with all of Jerusalem; go figure!  He did not have the peace of God, so he did what people who have no peace do; he took it from others also. At Christmas in all the hustle and bustle of the season, it is easy to lose our focus; to forget that God has things in control, and we can trust him no matter what the world throws at us.

"I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" 
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow    

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!